If you spend a little time with Diane Hoyt, R.N., Adventist Health director for Quality, you’ll soon discover that Hoyt, who spent a large portion of her career in a hospital setting, is passionate about Adventist Health’s quality journey.

“Quality is a major focus throughout our organization,” stated Diane. “We’re continuously working to improve because we’re committed to delivering the best possible care to our patients.”

Toward that end, Adventist Health facilities routinely participate in numerous state and federal quality measurement and improvement programs. One example is the CMS/Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project, aimed at enhancing quality care practices in hospitals across the nation. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), 260 hospitals nationwide—including 10 from Adventist Health—“significantly improved their quality of care” during the first year of the groundbreaking patient quality improvement project.

“We’re very proud of the hospitals that have chosen to participate in this project,” said Wynelle Huff, R.N., Ph.D., Adventist Health vice president for Delivery of Care. “This has been an excellent opportunity for us to enhance best practices and identify areas for further improvement.”

Another initiative all system hospitals were recently involved in was the Institute for Healthcare Improvements 100,000 Lives Campaign. Adventist Health facilities were among more than 3,100 hospitals nationwide to join the campaign in a commitment to implement changes in care proven to prevent avoidable deaths. The hospitals followed and reported progress on six recommended patient care strategies over an 18-month period. It is estimated that the campaign, which ended in June 2006, helped save more than 122,000 lives nationwide.

Adventist Health’s commitment to quality improvement is paying off. Adventist Medical Center (AMC) in Portland, Oregon, and Walla Walla General Hospital in Walla Walla, Washington, recently won Premier Quality Awards in the area of Heart Failure. The highly distinguished, nationally recognized award honors excellence in quality care and operational efficiency, and is an important benchmark for recognizing clinical excellence in the health care industry.

Three system hospitals also were recognized for workplace excellence and received 2005 California Awards for Performance Excellence (CAPE) from the California Council for Excellence. White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles earned a 2005 CAPE silver award, and both Feather River Hospital in Paradise, California, and Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Ukiah, California, were recognized with bronze level awards. The prestigious awards are given to companies and organizations that demonstrate continuous improvement and superior performance in several key business areas, including leadership, customer focus, strategic planning, human resources and business results.

AMC also won a bronze-level CAPE Award in 2004. While the awards are usually granted only to California companies, the Portland hospital applied and was granted consideration because it is part of Adventist Health.

Also making headlines is St. Helena Hospital’s (SHH) Center for Behavioral Health, which recently placed in the Top 10 Hospitals of a national quality measure for post-discharge results. According to Managed Health Network, a behavioral health HMO, the hospital’s Center for Behavioral Health exceeds the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. The criteria for meeting the standard states that 59 percent of patients must be seen by licensed clinicians within seven days of discharge from an acute unit. SHH’s average is 76.5 percent.

And each year, numerous Adventist Health facilities—including Tillamook County General Hospital in Tillamook, Oregon,—are named best practice performers by Professional Research Consultants (PRC), which conducts physician, patient and employee satisfaction surveys for health care facilities across the nation.

This month Adventist Health is talking quality with physicians via its first ever Physician Symposium. Dubbed “Charting Our Quality Course,” the event is geared toward hospital Chiefs of Medical Staff, Adventist Health Medical Executive Committee members, other key physicians and hospital executives.

“The goal of this symposium is to bring together physicians from across our system and give them an opportunity to network and learn more about our quality journey,” stated Donald R. Ammon, Adventist Health president and CEO. “Providing the best, up-to-date care to our patients is a top priority and educating our physicians about the latest quality trends in an important aspect of our commitment to our patients and our mission.”

The two-day event will kick off with a half-day session for Chiefs of Staff and Chiefs of Staff-Elect followed by the clinical quality symposium, which will feature several renowned physician speakers lecturing on a variety of quality topics.


It’s an exciting time to be delivering health care at Adventist Health, where a state-of-the-art clinical information system is changing and improving the lives of both patients and staff.

The new technology, dubbed Project IntelliCare, allows caregivers access to medical records, lab results, pharmacy support and more—all online. And while Adventist Health always has made patient safety a top priority, Project IntelliCare makes this goal easier to achieve.

Initially launched at Adventist Medical Center in July 2003, the system is expected to be live at all 20 Adventist Health hospitals by late 2006.

“Fully realized, Project IntelliCare will be a significant resource for our caregivers, which will help them provide better, safer care to those we serve,” said Wynelle Huff, R.N., Ph.D., Adventist Health vice president for Delivery of Care, who helped head up the project.

It’s no secret that clinicians make better decisions when they have better information. So at the heart of the system is a patient database, which is populated each time a patient enters the hospital. Because information is typed rather than written and is kept in a single location that is accessible to all the right people, there are fewer opportunities for mistakes, misplaced files and misinterpretation. In addition, once patients are in the system, they aren’t asked repeatedly for the same information at different locations throughout the hospital.

“With the Project IntelliCare charting system, medical orders can be entered and relayed to the necessary caregivers both faster and more accurately. And now that patient charts are password-protected rather than sitting on a shelf, patient privacy is improved as well,” said Sherry Nuqui, R.N., a telemetry nurse at San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield, California.

In the past year, the system has been expanded to include an ER tracking system, automated lab processes and online documentation for behavioral health, rehab, nutritional services, obstetrics and pastoral care. And many physicians can now download patient data onto Pocket PCs or palm devices for easy transport and access.

“The real value of Project IntelliCare is the ability it gives us to better serve our patients,” said Huff. “It is a natural extension of our mission. From the smallest facility to the largest, all of our hospitals will benefit in terms of patient satisfaction and quality care.”

October 01, 2006 / Feature